Performance Psychology, Psychology

The Performance Binary

The desire to win does not necessarily make one narcissistic but it is the abject, stomach-churning fear of losing.

The gap between the two traditional poles of performance sees a longstanding judgement towards the journey of action. A tug of war is a play of pure strength where you are physically pitted against the other side. You either pull them all in or they do that to you – either way, you fall.

This binary in performance has for long distanced certain egos from enjoying the journey of learning. For some the fear of losing is so gripping, even if it is about losing on eating the last slice of pizza. The object of this fear is a self that this mired in shame of loss, of any kind. Constant disparaging and criticism at an early age can set this false sense of ego where getting what you want is equated with winning. Parents often instill this fear in children unknowingly in their quest to make the children more competitive with a ‘high-achieving’ attitude. The result is often an outward-facing bully and an inward-facing self-doubting coward.

The attitude that wins is never the attitude that fears losing. Minds that are driven with the fear of losing are traumatized even after winning. They never learn to enjoy in the moment. They qualify fear to be their driver which completely diminishes everything that is positive and joyful about the play. And they transmit this fear into their teams in forms of unrealistic expectations causing stress and disharmony.

Fear can be used positively to know your weaknesses. What scares you needs conquering. This approach to self-improvement is positive and reinforces one’s inner strength. There are different techniques to manage this fear and nerves that are caused due to stress of this fear. But it must start with acknowledging that the canvas of performance is not made of binary results. It should be focused on the play.

Who is winning? – Your purposeful performance or your fear of losing?

4 thoughts on “The Performance Binary”

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  2. Terrific post but I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this subject?
    I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit further.
    Appreciate it!

    Like

  3. Thank you, Janet. I would love to elaborate further. Is there anything in particular that interests you about this topic?

    Like

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